Weekly Democratic Address
July 3, 2020
Hello, I’m Tom Carper, the last Vietnam Veteran serving in the United States Senate, and I serve there today as the senior senator from the great state of Delaware.
This week, Delawareans and Americans across our country woke up to the stark reports from our health and economic experts that are cause for alarm. The number of Americans our nation has lost to the coronavirus has now reached 130,000 people. The U.S. hit the highest single day total of new infections with nearly 40,000 confirmed cases this week. Tragically, our nation, which represents less than 5 percent of the world’s population, has now recorded 25 percent of the world’s cases and deaths.
But it doesn’t end there.
Last week, Delawareans and Americans across our nation woke up with more devastating news. And that is another 1.5 million people of our country have filed for unemployment, binging the total filings over a 14-week period to nearly 47 million Americans, many of whom rely on employee-sponsored health care.
We are a nation in crisis confronting matters of life and death. And, at this moment, Americans are desperate for real leadership, but, sadly, the president and his administration are not meeting the moment with much-needed action that could save lives.
Instead of working together with Congress, I would argue that our President is actually hurting our response to these crises. “Because how has President Trump responded to this latest devastating news? Well, he and his administration filed an 82-page legal brief urging the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. That’s how. Let that sink in. And as we see the coronavirus surging across our country, the President’s priority is asking the highest court in our land to scrap the law that provides nearly 23 million Americans with quality, affordable health care and critical lifesaving preexisting condition protections for 135 million Americans.
If President Trump gets his way, those 23 million Americans will be kicked off their health insurance, and insurers can go back to the days where they denied services to people living with preexisting conditions, like cystic fibrosis or asthma or diabetes. Seniors will pay more for their prescriptions. Young adults will be kicked off their parents’ insurance plans and the most vulnerable among us will lose access to critical, often life-saving health care.
I believe most of us would agree that there is never a good time to rip away health care from millions of our fellow Americans, but to do so in the middle of a deadly pandemic is just plain cruel.
Unfortunately, President Trump’s cynical move is just the latest one in Republicans’ years-long effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act, destroy it, a law based on conservative, market-based, Republican principles. And they are continuing to do so even though, after a decade, they still have absolutely no plan to replace it and ensure Americans have the care that they need.
And sadly, Senate Republicans are following President Trump’s lead – refusing to work with Senate Democrats on passing another emergency coronavirus relief bill before July 4th, and instead pushing through more right-wing judges who oppose our healthcare law.
That’s all the more reason why we cannot relent. Alongside my Democratic colleagues in the Senate and the House, I will continue to fight to protect Americans’ health care against Republicans’ endless assaults.
Recently, a new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that nearly half a million Americans enrolled in health care through the Affordable Care Act during a special enrollment period in the middle of this pandemic. 500,000 Americans – and that was against the Trump Administration’s deliberate efforts not to inform Americans of this special enrollment period.
Americans don’t want their access to health care taken away. So let’s work on expanding access, not destroying it.
Just this week, across the Capitol, our Democratic colleagues in the House passed legislation to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and actually expand Americans’ access to critical care. What a thought!
If President Trump refuses to lead, then he should at the very least stop actively trying to sabotage the health care on which millions are more dependent than ever. Today, our message is simple: stop attacking Delawareans and Americans’ life-saving care because we simply can’t overcome this public health crisis without access to quality care.
Thank you for listening. Stay safe. God Bless.